First Lady Suvra Mukherjee, the wife of President Pranab Mukherjee, passed away this morning, according to tweets posted on the official Rashtrapati Bhavan handle. She was 74.
Mukherjee, a talented painter and a Rabindra Sangeet vocalist, died at 10:51 am today in Delhi. She had suffered a cardiac arrest on August 7, 2015 and was admitted to the ICU of Army Hospital. She remained hospitalised for 11 days.
Born on September 17, 1940, in Jessore, Bangladesh, Mukherjee had migrated to Kolkata at the age of 10. She married Pranab on July 13, 1957. She founded the 'Geetanjali Troupe' -- a group of accomplished dancers known for their beautiful renditions of Rabindranath Tagore's dance dramas -- sometimes attended by the President himself. The troupe's mission is to propagate Tagore's philosophy as expressed through his songs and dance-dramas. She was the guiding force behind all productions of the troupe.
(Image courtesy: Twitter/RashtrapatiBhvn)
Mukherjee considered her mother who was herself a painter as the source of her creative inspiration and her works won critical acclaim.
She has written two books - 'Chokher Aloey', which is a personal account of her close interaction with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and 'Chena Achenai Chin', a travelogue recounting her visit to China.
Besides her husband, Suvra is survived by two sons Abhijit, a Congress MP, and Indrajit and one daughter Sharmistha, who unsuccessfully contested the Delhi Assembly elections on a Congress ticket.
Pranab Mukherjee had cut short his visit to Odisha on August 7 and returned to the national capital after he was informed about his wife's health condition.
"We are not like today's couples. It's not a lovey-dovey relationship and we don't express our emotions overtly," Suvra was quoted as having said on the eve of the crowning moment of her husband's political career when he assumed the office of President on July 25, 2012.
She had entered the portals of Rashtrapati Bhawan bringing in her harmonium and a tanpura, gifted by Bengali music maestro D L Roy.
On Tuesday, leaders of various political parties condoled the death.
"Saddened to hear the news of Smt. Suvra Mukherjee's demise. My heartfelt condolences to Shri Pranab Mukherjee and his bereaved family," Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi too extended his sympathy to President Pranab Mukherjee and his family.
"My deepest condolences to @RashtrapatiBhvn President Pranab Mukherjee &his family on the passing away of Smt Suvra Mukherjee @Sharmistha_GK," Gandhi tweeted.
Expressing grief, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she knew her for more than three decades as a simple and loveable person.
"Saddened to hear that Rashtrapati ji's wife Suvra boudi is no more. Cannot believe she has passed. Such is life. We have to accept the truth. I have known Suvra boudi for more than three decades. She was simple, lovable and a caring housewife. May God give Rashtrapati ji and his family the strength to bear the loss," she said in a series of tweets.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar too extended his condolences. "Sad to hear about the demise of Shri Pranab Mukherjee ji's wife. My deepest condolences to Pranab da and family. @RashtrapatiBhvn Nitish Kumar." (With PTI inputs)